By the time you read this, I will be home from vacation. My wife and I headed to the beach for a little relaxation. I made plans to read, eat seafood and play golf. I ran along the beach and even put my toes in the ocean once or twice – but not too far.
Have I mentioned that I’m not very fond of swimming? It’s funny. As a kid, I loved to swim. My parents would never check into a motel that didn’t have a swimming pool for my sister and me to enjoy. But two things happened in my life that caused me not to enjoy the sport as I once did.
The summer after I graduated from high school, while at church camp, I dove off the dock into the lake. About a foot underwater, my head made contact with that of a friend. I never lost consciousness, but my stay at camp was over. A trip to the emergency room ended with 10 stitches in the head and what the doctor called a mild concussion.
A couple of years later, I was at the pool when a friend who was trying to learn to swim became agitated in the deep end. It took four big men to subdue him and get him to safety. In the meantime, he almost drowned all of us. (Did I mention that he was 6 feet, 4 inches and 200 pounds?) I was not certain that any of us would survive. I have to admit that I was truly frightened that day, both for myself and for others.
I mention this because the Bible repeatedly says, “Fear not.” Every time an angel encountered a human being, one of the first things said was, “Fear not.”
Do you think it might have been too late for that? The angel of the Lord frightened Mary. He frightened Joseph. He frightened every person whom he encountered. And yet he continually said, “Fear not.”
God wants us to realize that fear is not a necessary part of the Christian life. There will be circumstances and situations that naturally frighten us. But as we realize that the Lord is with us, we can choose not to be afraid. We can choose to trust in him.
All of this matters for the following reason: We are living in frightening times. We are not sure how or when or if the economy will recover this time. We are not sure about the future for ourselves, our children or our grandchildren. And so it becomes natural for us to fear.
But God says, “Fear not.” The question for us is simple: Will we choose to succumb to our natural fear or will we trust the Lord?
I encourage you to trust. It will not always be easy. It will always be best. God loves you and wants the best for you. Trust him for all that you need.